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PM orders south Thai attacks probe
Abhisit Vejjajiva orders investigation after eight soldiers killed in two days.
Last Modified: 03 Jul 2010 05:18 GMT


Al Jazeera's Wayne Hay reports on Thailand's
unresolved conflict in the southern provinces

Thailand's prime minister has ordered security officials to look into the latest attacks in the country's southern-most provinces, saying they appeared more violent than previous recent attacks.

Abhisit Vejjajiva said he had instructed National Security Council officers to analyse two attacks which killed eight soldiers on Thursday and Friday, the Bangkok Post newspaper reported.

The first attack on Thursday night killed five members of a security patrol in Ruso district in Narathiwat.

A roadside bomb, containing about 20kg of explosives, was buried in a dirt road and detonated by wire, police said, adding that the attackers snatched four guns from the patrol before fleeing.

 

Three of the five soldiers killed were Muslim and two were Buddhist.

Ruso police, according to the newspaper, said they believed the roadside bomb attack was masterminded by Runda Kumpulan Kecil guerrillas.

Soldiers and police on Friday tried to hunt down fighters from the armed group who were suspected to have fled into the mountains.

The attack on Friday took place in neighbouring Yala province, where another roadside bomb killed three soldiers in a pickup truck.

Yala, together with Narathiwat and Pattani, has a predominantly Muslim population, many of whom have long complained of discrimination and marginalisation by the government in Bangkok, especially in the areas of education and job opportunities.

Eight soldiers were killed in two roadside bombings over two days [Reuters]

Al Jazeera's Wayne Hay, reporting from Yala, said, as was usually the case, no one had claimed responsibility for the attacks.

But over the years, much of the violence has been blamed on Muslim insurgent groups believed to be fighting for an autonomous region encompassing the three southern provinces, our correspondent said.

Officials were also saying they believed organised crime groups were involved in the violence, he added.

More than 4,000 people have been killed in the southern-most provinces since the insurgency reignited in 2004.

Source:
Al Jazeera and agencies
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